Word of the day

May 12, 2014

Sweven – dream, vision.


Tweets of the day

May 12, 2014


Oh When the Cows

May 12, 2014

Most milking sheds have a radio which is usually tuned to a commercial station.

Who knows whether the cows enjoy that music, but these cattle look like they’re enjoying the jazz.

I used cattle rather than cows because I peered closely and am not sure that they’re not steers.

Hat tip: Not PC


Rural round-up

May 12, 2014

Beer cheese ‘natural joint project’ – Rebecca Ryan:

Joining forces to create a beer cheese was a ”natural collaboration” for Oamaru companies Whitestone Cheese and Scotts Brewing Company.

Since January, the businesses have been trialling different recipes and techniques to develop a beer cheese.

The final product, an ”Indian Pale Airedale”, is due to be launched in spring, with manufacturing starting in the next few weeks.

”We’ve just come up with one we’re really pleased with,” Whitestone Cheese chief executive officer Simon Berry said. . .

Meat industry reform and the phony war – Keith Woodford:

The current situation in the meat industry reminds me of two famous phrases from the First and Second World Wars. From the First World War, came the term ’all quiet on the Western Front’. And then early in the Second World War there was the ‘phony war’. Both were periods of quiet while the protagonists geared up for major battles. All parties knew that it was actually the quiet that was phony.

The current situation in the meat industry is similar. Eventually hostilities will inevitably break out as the processing and marketing companies compete with each other for survival. In beef there is scope for most to survive, but in sheep meat there have to be casualties. . . .

Turned on the weather – RivettingKateTaylor:

By the time I arrived home from the Farmer of the Year field day yesterday it was raining, freezing and dark. Just an hour earlier I was standing in the sun in the yard at Drumpeel, partaking of some yummy Silver Fern Farms product, catching up with some of Hawke’s Bay’s rural clan.

About 264 people attended the 2014 Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year field day (according to the man counting at the gate!) at the CHB property of Hugh and Sharon Ritchie and their four beautiful children (sorry David, let’s try one handsome son and three beautiful daughters). . .

Kate has more photos of the field day here.

Irrigation agreement signed with ORC – David Bruce:

Otago Regional Council councillors and staff on Thursday saw how the North Otago Irrigation Company and its farmers are managing efficient use of water and flow-on effects before signing an agreement with North Otago irrigation companies and representatives.

Cropping and dairy support farmer Peter Mitchell with the help of the company’s environmental manager Jodi Leckie, explained how variable rate irrigation and close monitoring of soil needs helped both the farmer and the environment on a Fortification Rd property.

The Memorandum of Agreement is with North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC), the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company (LWIC), and the Waitaki Irrigators’ Collective Ltd and concerns implementation of the council’s Regional Plan: Water for Otago Plan Change 6A. . .

 

Great conditions for olives this season:

The olive harvest is off to a good start with the hot dry summer combining with the industry’s maturing trees to provide lots of high quality fruit.

Olives New Zealand president Andrew Taylor said the harvest began in the far North in late March and will finish up in Canterbury in July.

He said it was the second consecutive summer that the industry had had ideal weather conditions for growing olives, which had led to excellent fruit quality, and the odds of great oil were high. . .

Sustainable piggeries in American Samoa preventing contamination:

Farmers in American Samoa have been told to avoid using water to clean out their piggeries in a move to avoid contamination.

Almost 100 farmers were schooled last week on environmentally-friendly ‘dry-litter’ piggeries, that use woodchips instead of water to deal with waste, which then provides composting options for crops.

The chief piggery compliance officer, Antonina Te’o, says wash-down systems can cause land and water pollution and allow waste material to infiltrate the drinking water supply. . . .

 


Taxpayer funding would weaken democracy

May 12, 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union is unimpressed by Labour’s suggestion we all fund them:

“Taxing New Zealanders to subsidise political parties would weaken our democracy,” says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union.

The Union is hitting back at Labour Party leader David Cunliffe’s suggestion that it’s time to consider publicly-funded elections.

“Suggesting that tax dollars from those who don’t support political parties should be used to promote them is outrageous,” says Mr Williams.

“Mr Cunliffe argues that public funding of political parties is about ‘fairness’. But democracy is about accountability. Even if it was about fairness, how is it fair to tax Kiwis to fund Mr Cunliffe’s, or anyone else’s, political efforts?”

“Politicians having to justify their work to supporters, members, and donors is healthy. Public funding would give a huge advantage to the established political parties. It professionalises politics and stamps on the grass roots.”

“The vast majority of donations made to political parties are small. That is a good thing. It means politicians and party bosses are accountable to many.”

Politicians are accountable to all of us to make the best use of our money and to take as little of it as possible to do what most needs to be done.

Needs include healthcare, education, law and order, infrastructure, welfare and the sound economic management required to ensure they are affordable.

State funding of political parties isn’t a need.

It’s a want by those parties which can’t persuade enough people to voluntarily support them.


Right of reply

May 12, 2014

Fish and Game asked for right of reply to this post on farmers’ providing ammo for opponents.

I am happy to do so, here it is unedited:

James Houghton of Federated Farmers asks why farmers should buy licences to hunt ducks.  The simple answer is that under the law, the vast majority of farmers don’t need a game licence to hunt on their own land – a truth conveniently overlooked by Mr Houghton.

He also criticises Fish & Game very unfairly over our efforts to create new wetlands or enhance existing ones. We make no apologies for this; Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game owns over 1650 hectares of wetland in the Waikato, purchased using licence income. We currently have 19 wetland restoration or construction projects underway in the Waikato, the majority on private land, working with landowners. We also advocate actively and strongly for wetlands through the RMA process and will continue to do so.

Wetlands are important for waterfowl, both native and introduced. They are also critical habitats for several native fish species.  But surely as an advocate for the farming community, Houghton must be well aware of the role that wetlands play in enhancing water quality?

Instead of attacking the messenger, Houghton should be asking himself why water quality in the Waikato is still declining, and why the largest lake in the lower Waikato, Lake Waikare, is bright red from algal blooms.

After giving this some thought, he would do well to consider (as more thoughtful and forward looking members of the farming community already have), whether creating wetlands is one of the best solutions.

Ben Wilson

Chief Executive Fish & Game Auckland/Waikato Region

Paranormal pointed out, in a comment on the original post, as the letter above does, that farmers don’t need licences to shoot ducks on their own land.

That, is correct but not all farms have waterways and ponds, a lot of farmers shoot on other peoples’ land.

 


Leaked flood report hints at big problem

May 12, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe wrote an open letter to Prime Minister John Key about the Christchurch floods.

A council report on the issue is due to be released today.

At the weekend’s National Party Mainland conference Christchurch Earthquake recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said Cunliffe’s letter appeared to show he knew something about the contents of the report which could suggest he’d seen it although the government and those affected by the flooding hadn’t.

The Minister said that hints at a big problem.

That problem would be that someone with access to the report is playing politics with a very serious issue  and demonstrating a greater loyalty to the Labour Party than the city.

The Minister was careful to say it could suggest.

He was right to be cautious. After all the letter could have been written without any knowledge of the report.

Coincidences do happen and that would be much better for Christchurch than the alternative divided loyalties anywhere in the council.

 


They want our money for their campaigns

May 12, 2014

The hidden agenda behind the Labour and Green parties rants about National party fund raising has come out of hiding – they want our money for their campaigns.

David Cunliffe believes it’s time to consider publicly-funded elections.

It comes in the wake of revelations about National’s Cabinet Club and fundraising practices by all parties.

The Labour leader says it’s time to have a conversation.

“There’s a trade off to be made between investing more taxpayers funding in the political process to guarantee fairness and democracy on the one hand and making sure that every dollar is well and prudently spent.”

Excellent.

Labour has just handed National a large stick with which to beat them.

There is nothing fair or democratic about taking money from individuals to give to private organisations to allow them to sell themselves to us.

That is the antithesis of prudence and would definitely not be well spent.

Political parties have no more claim on public money to promote themselves than sports or service clubs, religious organisations or any of the other voluntary groups of like-minded people.

That parties receive some funds for broadcasting doesn’t make public funding right. The solution to that anomaly is not to give more public funding, it’s to stop it altogether.

I spent the weekend co-chairing the National Party’s Mainland conference.

We had a capacity crowd (in fact slightly over capacity) with good representation from every electorate in the South Island.

Most had travelled a considerable distance to be their at their own expense. They did so willingly because they believe in the party, want to contribute to policy and to the hard work needed to win the election.

That’s grass roots democracy at work and it would be undermined if taxpayers took over from volunteers.

National’s real strength isn’t the generous donations from a small number of wealthy people, it’s the large number of smaller individual contributions in time, effort and relatively small amounts of money each, from its members and supporters.

Labour is trying to cast aspersions about National’s fund raising efforts while ignoring the huge elephant in their own room – the unions which contribute huge sums of money to them in return for which they have huge power within the party.

Once again they’re judging others by their own low standards.

They don’t seem to realise that National’s donors give to the party because they support its principles and policies, not to buy or influence them as the unions do.

Democracy should be by the people, of the people, for the people with the people’s money should they choose to contribute.

To change that to by the parties, for the parties, of the parties with public money far better used on the many high priorities in need of it would be corrupt.

Labour’s put it on the agenda for the election. The Green Party will almost certainly support it.

All I can say is bring it on because that will help National win #3more years.


Good policy not developed in isolation

May 12, 2014

Michael Woodhouse, Minister for Immigration, Veteran’s Affairs and Land Information and Associate for Transport,  was interviewed on Vote Chat on Friday.

He was asked about the link between donors and policy and replied (12:35):

. . . Very few of the policies I came up with since becoming Minister are my own original ideas. I’d like to be able to tell you I’ve come up with great revelations having sat on a mountain contemplating my navel but actually those policies are the sum of a whole pile of thinking with officials, with advocates, with industry association groups like the association of immigration advisers, and with people who’ve had experience in the process . . .

Party members also have input into policy, that’s one of the privileges of membership.

At the weekends Mainland conference we had remits, break-out groups on particular issues and a pitch-a-policy session.

The party also has very active Policy Advisory Groups which develop policy ideas in consultation with members and with input from a variety of other people.

Policy dreamed up by a Minister in isolation or just on advice of officials in parliament would almost certainly not be the best policy.

Better policy is often like a good soup with lots of ingredients from different sources and those involved in the issue ought to be able to have input into the recipe whether or not the ingredients they suggest are part of the final product.

 

 


There and here

May 12, 2014

Finance Minister Bill English will deliver his sixth Budget on Thursday and it will show a surplus.

It will also provide a sharp contrast with the Australian Budget which is being delivered on Wednesday.

That Budget will be a black one and should provide a salutary lesson for New Zealanders.

When John Howard lost government Australia and no public debt.

The Labor governments which followed squandered the good times, as Labour-led governments did here in the noughties.

What we’ll see there is what would have happened here if  the government had followed the Labour-Green prescription for our economy.

Responsible government here has us on track to surplus.

Irresponsible government which a Labour-Green government would be, would reverse that and create another mess like that the Abbott government has to deal with over there.
Photo


May 12 in history

May 12, 2014

1191  Richard I of England married Berengaria of Navarre who was crowned Queen consort of England the same day.

1264 The Battle of Lewes, between King Henry III and the rebel Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, began.

1328 Antipope Nicholas V, a claimant to the papacy, was consecrated in Rome by the Bishop of Venice.

1364  Jagiellonian University, was founded in Kraków.

1551  National University of San Marcos, was founded in Lima.

1588 French Wars of Religion: Henry III fledParis after Henry of Guise enters the city.

1689  King William’s War: William III joined the League of Augsburg starting a war with France.

1743  Maria Theresa of Austria was crowned King of Bohemia after defeating her rival, Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor.

1797  First Coalition: Napoleon I of France conquered Venice.

1812 Edward Lear, British author and poet was born (d. 1888).

1820 Florence Nightingale, British nurse was born (d. 1910).

1821  The first big battle of the Greek War of Independence against the Turks occured in Valtetsi.

1828  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, British painter,was born (d. 1882).

1863  American Civil War: Battle of Raymond: two divisions of James B. McPherson‘s XVII Corps (ACW) turned the left wing of Confederate General John C. Pemberton‘s defensive line on Fourteen Mile Creek, opening up the interior of Mississippi to the Union Army during the Vicksburg Campaign.

1864 American Civil War: the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers died in “the Bloody Angle”.

1865  American Civil War: the Battle of Palmito Ranch: the first day of the last major land action to take place during the Civil War, resulting in a Confederate victory.

1870 The Manitoba Act was given the Royal Assent, paving the way for Manitoba to become a province of Canada on July 15.

1873  Oscar II was crowned King of Sweden.

1881  Tunisia became a French protectorate.

1885 North-West Rebellion: the four-day Battle of Batoche, pitting rebel Métis against the Canadian government, ended with a decisive rebel defeat.

1890  The first-ever official County Championship match begins. Yorkshire beat Gloucestershire by eight wickets at Bristol. George Ulyett scored the first century in the competition.

1907 Katharine Hepburn, American actress, was born (d. 2003).

1910 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, British biochemist, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1994).

1924 Tony Hancock, British comedian, was born  (d. 1968).

1926  UK General Strike 1926: In the United Kingdom, a nine-day general strike by ended.

1932  Ten weeks after his abduction, the infant son of Charles Lindbergh was found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.

1937 Susan Hampshire, British actress, was born.

1937 – George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were crowned King and Queen.

1941 – Konrad Zuse presented the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.

1942 – World War II: Second Battle of Kharkov – in the eastern Ukraine, Red Army forces under Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launched a major offensive from the Izium bridgehead.

1942 – Holocaust: 1,500 Jews were sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz.

1945 Ian McLagan, British keyboardist (Small Faces), was born.

1945  Argentinian labour leader José Peter declared the Federación Obrera de la Industria de la Carne dissolved.

1949 – The Soviet Union lifted its blockade of Berlin.

1949 – The western occupying powers approved the Basic Law for the new German state – the Federal Republic of Germany.

1952 Gaj Singh was crowned Maharaja of Jodhpur.

1958 Aformal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement was signed between the United States and Canada.

1962  Douglas MacArthur delivered his famous “Duty, Honor, Country” valedictory speech at the United States Military Academy.

1965 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the Moon.

1967  Pink Floyd staged the first-ever quadraphonic rock concert.

1971 A civic reception for 161 Battery on its return from Vietnam was disrupted by protesters.

Anti-Vietnam War protests in Queen Street

1975 Jonah Lomu, New Zealand rugby union footballer, was born.

Jonah Lomu (cropped).jpg

1975  Mayagüez incident: the Cambodian navy seized the American merchant ship SS Mayaguez in international waters.

1978  In Zaïre, rebels occupy the city of Kolwezi, the mining center of the province of Shaba.

1981  Francis Hughes starved to death in the Maze Prison in a republican campaign for political status to be granted to Provisional IRA prisoners.

1982 – During a procession outside the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, security guards overpower edJuan Fernandez Krohn before he  attacked Pope John Paul IIwith a bayonet.

1999 David Steel became the first Presiding Officer (speaker) of the modern Scottish Parliament.

2002  Former US President Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.

2003  The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26.

2003 – Fifty-nine Democratic lawmakers bring the Texas Legislature to a standstill by going into hiding in a dispute over a Republican congressional redistricting plan.

2006  Mass unrest by the Primeiro Comando da Capital began in São Paulo, leaving at least 150 dead.

2007  Karachi riots , which killed over 50 people in Karachi and above 100 injured, on the arrival of Chief Justice of Pakistan; Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in Karachi city.

2008 Wenchuan earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) in Sichuan, China, killed more than 69,000 people.

2008 – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted the largest-ever raid of workplace and arrests nearly 400 immigrants for identity theft and document fraud.

2010 – An Afriqiyah Airways Flight crashed, killing all but one person on board.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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